First a shout out to @mariamatloub. She is a subscriber and clearly a design-aware person. She noticed how appalling my front page designs were and sent me fonts and a template to improve the look. You can find Maria on Telegram
for all your design needs. Thank you, Maria.
There is more content than normal this week, hence a longer contents list. But the story of the week is driven by Facebook’s decision to throw up to $1 billion at the creator economy. This in the same week that Twitter closed down its “Fleets” feature due to poor use. Fleets were its copy of the “stories” feature on other social media.
Of course, money talks, and no doubt Facebook will gain some traction for its platform from creators it can buy. But the key to the creator economy is individualism, independence, and authenticity. Allowing Facebook to buy your work would seem to fly in the face of those most basic tenets of the creator economy. Those who agree to take the money are almost certainly going to be the ones who cannot make it on their own, or with independent investment. The product thinking at Facebook surely failed to grasp this most essential of truths. If Facebook wants to help creators while also serving its own purposes then a better path would be to help creators, using any platform, to reach their natural audience on Facebook. Now that is something all creators would do, and possibly even pay for. Owning the tools and the creation seems the least important thing Facebook could attempt to do and is doomed to fail.
Clubhouse on the other hand really showed its understanding of creators and their audience by introducing DMs between participants in an event. The “backchannel” is and has always been a most important real-world feature and is now available in Clubhouse.
But speaking for myself, I do not believe that the creator economy lends itself to investment. TechCrunch, you should remember, never raised venture capital. Why? It could never become venture scale in the 2005-2010 window it lived in. Without giving away any confidence, TechCrunch revenue was very far away from the meme of $100m by the fifth year of revenue. Most creators are not fundable, and most do not create in order to be funded. The purpose of the text, audio, and video tools we all use is to enable thoughtful engagement with the world in order to develop who we all are. Mostly creators get paid for other stuff, not creating. This is true of bloggers, influencers, video streamers, and more. So the interest in investing in the creator economy is a fool’s errand, except perhaps for the companies able to innovate in the tools available, and even then the revenue likely is possibly too small to expect large outcomes. I might be wrong, but I don’t think so. The creator boom is wonderful, and the proliferation of inexpensive tools also. Just don’t do it to make serious money, unless you are one of a handful of already influential celebrities in your space.
More in this week’s video